IMAGE OF THE WEEK
One day about fifteen years ago, I looked at my teenage son – my firstborn child – and realized he would soon be leaving home. Somehow I had not fully realized how close he was to flying the coop. Reality crept up on me, suddenly revealing itself as we talked about his future college education. The wheel of time was turning, and Jonah was spreading his wings.
How did this happen? Wasn’t it just yesterday that my copper-haired toddler was pushing a red wagon, playing with building blocks, delighting me with his chubby hands and soft cheeks? Suddenly it hit me that my precious son could – and likely would – walk out of my life.
And like a blueprint, I saw the path that had uncoiled like a spiral from Jonah’s birth to the moment of his departure. Along the way were the landscapes of his childhood, emanations of his ancestry, and hints of his future so rapidly approaching. Moment by moment, step by step, my firstborn had been leaving me since the day he was born. Now it was my turn to take baby steps, in the long process of learning to let go – a positive letting go that I tried to express in this painting. And I knew I wasn’t alone, for every parent must grapple with the tension between holding and releasing their children.
In just a few days, my son, now 29 years old, will defend his dissertation and become a PhD. He has been working toward his doctorate for the past seven years. In a certain way, Jonah is about to finally leave his formative years behind. Where the widening spiral of his life will lead next, only time will tell.
Needless to say, I’m a very proud mom. And it’s still hard to let go. I’m a slow learner.
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